My first attempt at Karachi Halwa resulted in something more akin to a kind of glassy al-dente turkish delight. Perhaps it was because I’d taken the recipe and method off of a 30 second TikTok video or that I’d substituted coconut oil for ghee. Still, it was edible and somewhat pleasing (a bit cocunutty, and would probably be great enrobed in chocolate) but I was not happy. I was after the sticky, chewy halwa my mum used to buy from Shalimar Delights in Fordsburg.

Not the halwa you're looking for.

Not the halwa you’re looking for.

While the Tiktok I’d seen made it seem like you could go from slurry to sweetmeat in a couple of stirs, this video by Swara’s Sweet Delights showed in great detail just how much arm action was required to deliver on pure chewy, stretchy nostalgia.

I did not divert from Swara’s recipe except to use two teaspoons of lemon juice in place of the citric acid, add more cardamom and use ground butterfly pea flower to get this deep purple colour (without the acid element, this halwa would have been deep blue). I did have some arrowroot powder on hand but had to top up with cornflour to make the full quantity required. I remember buying the arrowroot from either Dischem or a health store a while back. You could probably just use cornflour. As for the  butterfly pea flower, I bought some in Vietnam and stored the packets in the freezer. It’s becoming more popular as an ingredient, and there are more foodie stores stocking it these days.

If I’d kept at the stirring and watched my heat a little better, these would have been even stretchier.